The U.S. Senate is finally getting serious about declining startup rates.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) announced on Wednesday the creation of the first-ever bipartisan entrepreneurship caucus to diagnose why the rate of new business creation has declined over the past three decades and create policy to reverse that slump.
Senate committees such as the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which focuses on some of the same goals as the caucus, typically operate a bit like fiefdoms. They are protective of their authority and little collaboration occurs among them. The new caucus will bring together senators from different committees that touch issues affecting entrepreneurs around a single agenda. That includes the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship as well as those dealing with technology, access to capital, education, immigration, tax policy, and regulation.
"New businesses are the engines that drive economic growth, but fewer and fewer startups are launched every year," Klobuchar said in a statement. "Establishing the bipartisan Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus will allow Congress to work with entrepreneurs across the country to stimulate innovation, create jobs, and move the country forward."
"This is big news," says John Dearie, the founder and president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE), a Washington, D.C.-area nonpartisan advocacy organization that has been promoting the formation of a caucus for months. The caucus, he says, will provide a "coherent framework for caucus members to learn about a subject like entrepreneurship and lead, hopefully, to greater understanding, consensus, and legislative momentum." (CAE is also working to create an entrepreneurship caucus in the House of Representatives.)
"Small businesses and entrepreneurship are the backbone of the American economy," Scott said in a statement, referencing his own experience as a small-business owner. "With over 30 million small businesses from the coasts to the heartland, our nation continues to make dreams into reality."